Retrogrades are often viewed as fast and furious, chaotic and crazy, unruly and unnerving — but in reality, they're a pretty common planetary happening. While Mercury retrograde may get all the hate (and memes), some retrogrades force us to take a closer look at our lives and reassess where they're headed. While that can feel like a chore, the vibes they bring are ultimately a good move forward for us (really, we promise). Starting on June 17, Saturn will retrograde in Pisces until November 4, meaning we've got some time to really sit with this astrological event and use it to our advantage.
Saturn rules karma and justice, it keeps us in line and teaches us lessons. The planet's backwards dance offers us a period of introspection to review our current commitments, goals, responsibilities, and our relationship with our own boundaries, according to Stephanie Campos, astrologer and author of Seasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Year. "This is a moment of reprieve from all the hard work you've been pouring into your current commitments or any accomplishments you've been working toward," she says. "Now is the time to reflect on where you are and how you got here. What worked and what could use some refining along the way?"
Take a journey back in time to see what you've accomplished so far during the first half of 2023. What were your biggest wins? Your biggest losses? Now's the time to really look at your past actions, keep what's been working and toss away what hasn't.
The next five months will have us reassessing our own boundaries, "which can prompt us to reflect and reassess how we protect and honour our own energy and energetic investment in others," Campos says. "It can arrive as a sort of reality check or cosmic course correction." She adds that Saturn retrograde is also a window of time to recommit to a particular goal and self-mastery in a particular area of our lives, so if you've given up on a specific project — writing a novel, perhaps, or attending art classes — this is your sign to pick them back up.
Iva Naskova, astrologer at the Nebula Platform, says that we should prepare to experience significant life changes during Saturn's retrograde. "In some cases, this planet moving backward often brings the end of long-term relationships and can inspire individuals to make bold decisions such as leaving a stable career or relocating to a new country," she says. "Saturn's influence encourages us to embrace new experiences and pursue new directions in life." Naskova describes this time as a period for growth, exploration, and self-discovery — again, it sounds intimidating, but we've survived many Saturn retrogrades before, and we'll do it again.
"At a more personal level, Saturn in Pisces has called on all of us, regardless of our sign, to deepen our spiritual practices," says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. "Since it entered this sign, it’s made it even more crucial for us to invest time and effort in maintaining what could be called 'spiritual hygiene.' During the retrograde, we get to review if these practices are meant to truly work for us in the long run, or if we must look for something else."
For those looking for — or who are in — love, this planetary backward spin will have us in a bit of a tizzy. But, it's nothing to be too wary of. According to Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of The Love Deck, this retrograde "will create issues with commitments because it doesn’t know how to find structure and adhere to boundaries," she says. "It’s not known to form bonds. But it will karmically align us with partners who are at our level and push us to use our intuition to problem solve matters." We'll be doing some extra legwork when it comes to conflict resolution, but it's a good skill to work on as we continue through 2023.
The most intense time of this retrograde will be from July 10 to July 27, when Mars in Virgo will oppose Saturn. "Karmic adjustments will be taking place as anger from the past comes back to the surface," says Montúfar. "It will be key to practice patience when people cross our boundaries due to a feeling of confusion."
Campos agrees that these couple of weeks will be a bit, er, intense, with the energy coming to a head on July 20. "Mars and Saturn are the two most challenging planets in the sky and they will be facing off with one another, stirring up tension and activating our triggers," she says. "It's easy to feel like we're stuck or weighed down by some of our own personal responsibilities and burdens. If possible, treat any frustrations that bubble up today as opportunities to examine your own triggers and limits."
The growing pains we experience during this astrological stretch will offer wisdom, Campos says. Whether or not you listen to it is up to you.